Getting Real Employee Feedback Can Be Really Brutal

How do organizations get the feedback they desperately need from employees? How do organizations eat the proverbial “sh*t sandwich” and get the information that changes their culture for the better? How do you engage everyone, especially considering that everyone at work has a different communication style?

Tierra Madani, HR Manager for Vancouver Island Brewing, dives into getting beyond the surface and getting real, in-depth employee feedback.

In her December 2019 DisruptHR talk in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Madani covers many ways organizations can overcome the typical difficulties in getting candid feedback from employees. The first place to start is acknowledging what she calls the iceberg of ignorance, where only 4% of problems are known by top managers. That 96% gap requires organizations to look through a different lens and consider their issues differently.

“It all really starts with listening. It seems really simple,” she said. “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, and not the other way around.”

Organizations need to engage the passionate, influential employees inside the organization and really, truly listen to them in a formal setting, says Madani. She shares her journey in how she engaged and listened to employees in a way that was meaningful and powerful.

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That doesn’t mean it was easy. Madani talks about how difficult it can be to listen to your employees candidly. “This meeting was scheduled for one hour, and it turned into a four-hour session. I cried a few times,” she said. What she left with was the mutual trust of some of her most essential employees.

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